How My Dad Taught Me to Cook Curry
Lifestyle
55 views
55 views

How My Dad Taught Me to Cook Curry

Joshua Harris - October 9, 2017
Sussex Sour Apples Poll
Arts
78 views
78 views

Sussex Sour Apples Poll

Bianca Serafini - September 26, 2016
2 Views

The price of justice

Last week’s issue of the Badger was greatly enriched by the inclusion of a thought-provoking feature by Sam Waterman and Ralph Kellas on the increased marketisation of higher education (‘What’s happening to our universities’, 24.01.2011).

The piece highlighted the shift in political thought towards an increasingly singular view of society centred on the free market.Unfortunately, education is far from the only institution assaulted under the auspices of ‘efficiency’; legal aid has also been substantially undermined.

Since 1946 legal aid has been the primary guarantor of access to justice in the UK, providing funds for legal representation to those who could not otherwise afford it. Introduced by Clement Attlee’s government in 1946 it was regarded as a pillar of the welfare state of equal importance to the NHS. Legal aid’s premise is that true democracy predicates the real legal equality of persons, requiring equal access to the law.

The history of the erosion of legal aid’s founding principles will be depressingly familiar for those who read last week’s feature. The Thatcher administration ushered in significant cuts before the last Labour government fundamentally changed the way in which access to justice was treated.

The Access to Justice Act 1999 introduced competitive tendering for legal aid, the first major intrusion of the free market, this is widely considered to have triggered a ‘race to the bottom’ lowering the standard of legal aid work and thus exacerbating the disparity between rich and poor in their chances of succeeding at court.

However, once again it has been the present government who have launched the most withering attack upon access to justice’s founding principles.

You can be forgiven for barely noticing the 15 percent legal aid cuts announced in November, few envisage themselves needing its assistance and protests were distinctly muted. Perhaps, this is what led the government to make its most audacious claim; reducing legal aid would be ‘fairer’.

The Daily Mail, ever the champion of progressive social policy, attacked the fat cat lawyers taking millions from the state. The fact that the average legal aid lawyer’s wage is less than the average teacher’s seemed to be unnoticed. The irony that leading the charge was Kenneth Clarke, a wealthy Cambridge-educated barrister, seemed lost. Once again, the real victims were the poor.

The cuts saw the total removal of funding for employment, education and professional negligence claims and crippling cuts in private family, welfare and immigration cases. This ‘fairer’ system will see the families of those who died due to medical negligence or workers wishing to challenge unfair dismissals unable to get funding.

The government are very aware of the unjust nature of their reforms.

The government green paper said that cuts in claims against benefit decisions would disproportionately affect the ill and disabled – it was still scrapped. Let us hope that the new legions of disadvantaged appreciate that their misfortune is in the name of fairness.

If one discounts the spurious claim that the justice gap will be plugged by lawyers working for free, this once again leaves the free market as the arbitrator of societal rights this time in the form of ‘no win, no fee’ law firms.

The implications of this may not be immediately obvious, but they are extremely serious. Legal aid firms normally demand an over 60 percent chance of success to take on a case.
Thus, whether justice is sought for the poor will be substantially dictated by the commercial calculations of law firms. This presents two major problems.

First, claims against financially powerful interests are essential for maintaining true legal equality; however they remain poor prospects for risk-adverse, financially-motivated, lawyers. Second, challenges based on ambiguities and uncertainties in the law are indispensible in its wider development and public awareness of its deficiencies.

However, they also remain risky and labour-intensive work holding little appeal for the private sector. The decline of legal aid is indicative of the nefarious impact of increased ‘marketisation’ on our social institutions. Access to justice is being gradually transformed from an inalienable civil-political right into an economic privilege available to those who can afford it.

Precluding a segment of society from equal access to the courts, an entire branch of government, carries grave repercussions for the rule of law and democratic values in the UK.

The fact that the cuts were supposedly made to pay for the mistakes of the rich only compounds the injustice.

Most Read

Error: cannot Ajaxify WordPress Popular Posts on this theme. It's missing the id attribute on before_widget (see register_sidebar for more).

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
How My Dad Taught Me to Cook Curry
Lifestyle
55 views
55 views

How My Dad Taught Me to Cook Curry

Joshua Harris - October 9, 2017
Sussex Sour Apples Poll
Arts
78 views
78 views

Sussex Sour Apples Poll

Bianca Serafini - September 26, 2016
16 views

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Michael Farthing paid ‘golden goodbye’ of £230,000
Campus News
46 views
Campus News
46 views

Michael Farthing paid ‘golden goodbye’ of £230,000

Deniz Karaman - December 8, 2017

Previous Vice-Chancellor of Sussex University, Michael Farthing, was paid a £230,000 sum 'in lieu of notice' upon stepping down from his role, University Financial Statements for 2016-17…

How My Dad Taught Me to Cook Curry
Lifestyle
55 views
Lifestyle
55 views

How My Dad Taught Me to Cook Curry

Joshua Harris - October 9, 2017

When considering the Indian cuisine, I recall my old blind friend, Jal Jamson, whom one day upon entering my house exclaimed “this sure is a veritable feast…

Sussex Sour Apples Poll
Arts
78 views
Arts
78 views

Sussex Sour Apples Poll

Bianca Serafini - September 26, 2016

Vote for your favourite film here!   [socialpoll id="2389011"]

Women’s suffrage 100 years on: what’s changed?
Features
Features

Women’s suffrage 100 years on: what’s changed?

Roisin McCormack - February 20, 2018

As it reaches a century since the defining moments of women’s suffrage, Roisin McCormack looks into how much things have really changed. Is a celebration of the…

Retrospective: Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Punch Drunk Love’ (2002)
Arts
3 views
Arts
3 views

Retrospective: Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Punch Drunk Love’ (2002)

Gabriel Ross - February 20, 2018

During a 2002 interview with Charlie Rose, when asked whether he is going to take some time off, Adam Sandler promptly replies, “I don’t really wanna have…

News
16 views

Live: Students’ Union decides on UCU strike backing

William Singh - February 19, 2018

U.S.S.U-Turn: 54 students decide stance for 17,000
Campus News
30 views
Campus News
30 views

U.S.S.U-Turn: 54 students decide stance for 17,000

Jordan Wright - February 19, 2018

On Monday 19th February, the Students’ Union Council will vote on whether or not to support the national Univerity  and College Union (UCU) strike action that is…

The Wombats: ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ review
Arts
16 views
Arts
16 views

The Wombats: ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ review

Matthew Nicholls - February 19, 2018

Three years after their last release, The Wombats are back with their long awaited fourth album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’. Since 'Glitterbug' reached number 5…

Artist Focus: Ella Barkhouse
Artist Focus
14 views
Artist Focus
14 views

Artist Focus: Ella Barkhouse

Louisa Hunt - February 19, 2018

Ella Barkhouse is a second-year Brighton student, studying Fine Art: Critical Practice course. Her work ranges across all sorts of media, from some more traditional writing, drawing…

The ultimate LGBTQ+ books guide this February
Books
52 views
Books
52 views

The ultimate LGBTQ+ books guide this February

Shiri Reuben - February 19, 2018

  Throughout the month of February, LGBT History Month aims to promote tolerance and spread awareness of the historical and present-day prejudices faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual…

Planned new Life Sciences building ‘axed’
Campus News
54 views
Campus News
54 views

Planned new Life Sciences building ‘axed’

Anonymous - February 16, 2018

The University of Sussex’s longstanding plans to construct a new Life Sciences building in the east end of the Science Car Park have been axed, The Badger…

The Badger chats to Sussex Show Choir
Arts
33 views
Arts
33 views

The Badger chats to Sussex Show Choir

Georgia Grace - February 16, 2018

Theatre Editor Georgia Grace spoke with one of the University’s major performing arts societies Show Choir about what they’ve been up to over the previous months, and…

Russian State Ballet of Siberia comes to the Theatre Royal Brighton
Arts
33 views
Arts
33 views

Russian State Ballet of Siberia comes to the Theatre Royal Brighton

Georgia Grace - February 16, 2018

Next week, Theatre Royal Brighton hosts the Russian State Ballet of Siberia for three phenomenal performances across three consecutive nights: Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella and Swan Lake.…

I, Tonya Review
Arts
40 views
Arts
40 views

I, Tonya Review

Michael Humphreys - February 16, 2018

Having made her name in The Wolf of Wall Street as well as starring in disasters such as Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie’s career has been less than…

The Badger Reviews: Star Trek Discovery
Arts
37 views
Arts
37 views

The Badger Reviews: Star Trek Discovery

Sophie Coppenhall - February 16, 2018

  [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8KGLdIMtHQ[/embed] This week, Sophie our film editor, reviews season one of Star Trek Discovery. Have you seen it? What did you think? Leave us a comment…

Campus News
50 views

News like Badger: Union U-turn over referendum to support strike action, new east slope and more

William Singh - February 16, 2018

In this news round up of the week, Will and Jordan catch you up on everything going on around campus. Thanks for listening, and tune in next…

Comment
34 views

Comment Cast: The US is leaving the Paris Climate Agreement- but does it really matter?

Will Cronk - February 16, 2018

In this episode Will and Julian debate whether or not the US leaving the Paris Climate Agreement really matters. Thanks for listening and tune in for more…

Arts
43 views

Arts Podcast: A chat about the upcoming Oscars

Alex Leissle - February 15, 2018

This week our Arts editor sits down with the Sophie, our in house film expert, to chat about the upcoming Academy awards! Thanks for listening! Tune in…

Sussex Cup to replace varsity
Campus News
75 views
Campus News
75 views

Sussex Cup to replace varsity

Deniz Karaman - February 14, 2018

This April the University of Sussex Students' Union will be hosting the first Sussex Cup. The Cup has been organised to replace the annual varsity games that were…

Students petition university for strike hardship fund
Campus News
66 views
Campus News
66 views

Students petition university for strike hardship fund

Jessica Hubbard - February 13, 2018

Sussex students have started a petition to the University of Sussex requesting that wages that would have been paid to striking staff be placed instead into a…

Oscars 2018: how progressive are Hollywood’s most prestigious awards?
Features
50 views
Features
50 views

Oscars 2018: how progressive are Hollywood’s most prestigious awards?

Devin Thomas - February 13, 2018

In light of the recently revealed list of the 2018 Oscar Nominations, Features Editor Devin Thomas explores the extent to which we can say that we are…

Students’ Union election week pushed back
Campus News
95 views
Campus News
95 views

Students’ Union election week pushed back

William Singh - February 12, 2018

Voting to elect new Full-Time and Part-Time Officers to the Students' Union has been delayed by one week. Elections were due to take place between 12th-16th March,…

Sussex Library charges £12,442.75 for late fees
Campus News
52 views
Campus News
52 views

Sussex Library charges £12,442.75 for late fees

Jessica Hubbard - February 8, 2018

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that library fees for overdue books reached £12, 442.75 during the 2016/17 academic year. The request was made on 31…